Tag Archives: Wendy Tyson

A day in the life of Elle Rose by Wendy Tyson

Castle San Pietro is asleep. It wasn’t long ago that nights and mornings ran together, blurred lines on an Italian canvas, but since Damien’s death, the party has died. Now we sit around in the evening, quarreling about movie sets and brands of vodka until Daddy goes to bed and the rest wander off. Karina says I need to clean myself up. I think she might be right.

It’s not easy being a rock star’s daughter. It’s even harder being a has-been actress holed up in the mountains thousands of miles from home. I stare longingly at the medicine bottle on my bedside table. Early mornings are my least favorite time of day. They seem to stretch on and on, and it’s then that my heart palpitates and my mind wanders to forbidden places. Oh, Damien, how things have changed. Would you even recognize me? One little pill and I could be out cold, like the rest of the castle’s inhabitants. But not today. Today I have a decision to make.

I crawl out of bed and pull on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. A quick glance in the mirror tells me it’s good I haven’t left the castle in forty-seven days. No one Out There needs to see me like this. I fumble for shoes, reluctant to turn on the light. Starring in a few spy B-movies taught me the importance of being stealth. Lights aren’t stealth. Flip-flops aren’t stealth, either. I leave the shoes behind.

The castle’s marble floors are cold on bare skin. Ancient stone walls retain imprints of lost loves and evil deeds—I’m convinced of that. I’m also convinced that evil still lurks here. No one believes me, though. Not Daddy, although he’s too lost in a fog to notice more than whether his breakfast is cold. Not the staff. And not Daddy’s entourage. While I’m happy for the company, I wish. . .well, what do I wish? I don’t even know anymore.

Outside the sun is just peeking over the horizon, but the light has yet to reach inside these castle walls. No matter. I know this castle like I knew Damien’s body—its smooth surfaces, its hidden places—and I don’t need light to find my way through the halls and down the great staircase. Downstairs I tip-toe quietly through the dining hall and the kitchens, careful to be quiet. I let myself out through the old servants’ quarters.

I make my way across the courtyard, and down the walking path that leads to the ruins of the old stone wall. From there, I could go into the woods, follow the path through the trees, toward the crumbling old church, and see the quaint town of Bidero spread out before me. But I won’t. These cliffs have teeth, and while the Dolomite Mountains look breathtaking, they’re less sentinel than prison guard. I will stay here, by the wall, where it’s safe.

I sink down on hard stone and pull out a cigarette. I’m two puffs in, thinking of the list of image consultants our attorney emailed me the week before, when I hear a sound behind me. Shoulders tense, but I don’t turn. Lately I’ve felt things inside the castle, heard things. Things that make me feel just a little bit crazy.

I return to the list, mentally going through the candidates. One name stands out: Allison Campbell. Not because she’s a well-known author on the topic of reinvention. Not because she seems like someone I could relate to. Not because she’d be discreet. Because she’s solved several murders. And if evil does lurk within these walls, I sure could use an ally.

“A bit early for you to be out and about, don’t you think?”

I don’t jump at the sound of Mazy Coyne’s voice, and for that I’m proud. The author doesn’t wait for an invitation. She joins me by the wall, her round body encased in white terry cloth, a cigarette dangling from yellowed fingers.

“What’s on your mind, kid?” she asks. “Awfully early to see you out here.”

“Nothing.” Everything.

Mazy is staying in one of the cottages on the castle grounds. She’s written a book that’s being made into a movie, and Daddy thinks I could land a role. I look at Mazy sideways, suddenly conscious of the mascara smeared around my eyes, my rumpled clothes. I want her to leave. I want them all to leave.

“Beautiful, aye?” Mazy points to the pale peaks rising above us. Her gaze turns to the rolling pastures, sheep dotting the landscape in the distance like tiny ants. “I can see why you stay.”

“Can you?”

“It’s a fairy tale spot, a place of fantasies.”

I watch the sheep, seemingly unaware of their own vulnerabilities. “It really is.”

Mazy lets out something like a laugh. “Of course, the original fairy tales were not sanitized. There was rarely a happy ending.” She looks at me over circles of smoke. “Something to think about.”

Oh, I’ve been thinking about it. I take another puff of my own cigarette and go back to considering the list. Allison Campbell. She’s the one we’ll call.


You can read more about Elle in Fatal Façade, the fourth book in the “Allison Campbell” mystery series.

Allison Campbell accepted a dream assignment: a visit to the Italian Dolomites to help Hollywood socialite Elle Rose reinvent herself. A guest cottage on the grounds of Elle’s historic castle promises to be a much-needed respite from Allison’s harried life on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the picturesque region, with its sharp peaks, rolling pastures, and medieval churches, is the perfect spot from which to plan her upcoming wedding.

Only this idyllic retreat is anything but peaceful. There are the other visitors—an entourage of back-biting expats and Hollywood VIPs. There’s Elle’s famous rock star father, now a shadowy recluse hovering behind the castle’s closed doors. And then there’s Elle’s erratic behavior. Nothing is as it seems. After a guest plummets to her death from a cliff on the castle grounds, Allison’s trip of a lifetime turns nightmarish—but before she can journey home, Allison must catch a killer.

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About the author
Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, sons, and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. Find Wendy at www.WATyson.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment by June 21, 2017 for your chance to win one of the books from Wendy’s “Allison Campbell” series (Killer Image, Deadly Asset, Dying Brand, or Fatal Façade), either Kindle/Nook (open to everyone) or paperback (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. Good luck everyone!

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My Musing ~ Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson

Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson is the second book in the “Greenhouse” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, March 2017

Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the café has become a hotspot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls–only not for the animals. But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing.

When the town’s pub owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome–but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth–before another dead body marks the season.

It’s Oktoberfest celebration when murder strikes the small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Who is behind this and other mishaps is what’s on Megan’s mind when she starts asking questions, only to uncover a plot that could destroy everything she has garnered.

I love it. There is just something in the way this book is written that pulls me in and then it becomes about what is happening in this small town. The narrative is descriptively appealing putting me in the middle of all the action and the dialogue is engaging keeping me in tuned in all that is being said. The author sets the staging for this whodunit that captures the essence of the characters and their roles that are portrayed in the telling of this tale. The mystery was intriguing with so many things going on like . . . who committed the murder? . . . what underlying factors are present? . . . who is the mystery person? . . . what is the story behind Megan’s mother leaving? All are catalyst to the outcome in this well-developed drama that have me begging for more adventures with Megan and her friends. This was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to see where we go next in this delightfully endearing series.

A day in the life of Alvaro Hernandez by Wendy Tyson

bitter-harvest“More coffee, Alvaro?” It’s the skinny one, Ted Kuhl, the one who looks like a stovepipe with hair and walks around with a chip the size of Winsome. He sits at the café’s long copper-topped table, a tumble of papers in front of him. I watch him, seeing the way he studies the others. As though he has a secret. As though he’s waiting for el otro pie to fall—and that shoe is tumbling fast.

The loud one, Nunez, wants more muffins, but Megan steps in and says she’ll get the coffee and the food. Just as well. The men get on my nerves. Megan and Clover call them The Breakfast Club. Clover came up with the name after watching that movie from the 80s. She thinks it’s funny. I think it’s funny that she wasn’t even lust in her father’s eye in the 80s. I keep an eye on her, too. She and her brother Clay grew up underfoot at the comuna, a pair of wide-eyed troublemakers with more heart than sense. Some things haven’t changed. That’s why I agreed to take this job. To have them underfoot again is not the worst thing an old man like me could endure.

I pour the rest of the muffin batter into the pans and place them in the giant ovens. The men, this Breakfast Club, they come every day. Argue, argue, argue. . .that’s all they seem to do. If not over politics, then it’s sports. Phillies, Eagles, Flyers—you’d think the fate of humanity hung on the outcome of some stupid sports rivalry. Lately, though, the tone has changed. I think Megan notices it, too. Like a shadow has fallen across Winsome. The shadow of greed, maybe. Or envy. There is a reason each is a deadly sin. I fear someone will be made to pay eventually.

“Where’s that coffee?” Nunez yells. I tell him to have some patience.

Megan is making a fresh pot, wary eyes on the men. I see the bruised hollows under those eyes, the way one hand clutches the edge of the table, and I worry. A farm and a café—this is a lot to take on. I won’t be sexist by saying it’s a lot for a woman. My mother raised me and my sister alone, a Mexican immigrant who paid our way with a back bent over the fields, a back so twisted in old age she needed a cane just to stand. No, women are tough, tougher in many ways than men. That’s not why I worry. I worry because I smell trouble brewing. And I know she does, too. To have a farm and a café to manage in the middle of bigger problems? That’s enough to break the strongest back.

washington-acres-cafe

“Coffee’s ready,” Megan says. Her smile is tight.

“Six cups of coffee.” I wave a dishtowel toward Nunez, the whiny one. “No more. I should charge him for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth.”

“Alvaro—” She says my name softly. She wants me to calm down. She doesn’t understand that this is calm.

“That man’s a freeloader,” I say, fighting the tenderness I feel toward this young warrior. She’s fighting a fight that may be impossible to win. Redeeming her father’s legacy. Maintaining a food and farm tradition that modern so-called improvements threaten to destroy. “You want to make a profit here? You can’t let these men sit and loiter.”

She looks about to say something when the men begin their incessant arguing. I know what they’re fighting about: Oktoberfest. Who will sponsor the event, who will win the spoils from a thousand demanding tourists? Tension like low-lying fog smothers the room. She watches her customers, her sharp mind honing in on patterns, wondering if there’s more than meets the eye.

There is. I know that like I know the touch of my wife’s hand, or the pattern of laugh lines around her tired eyes.

I start to wash the mixing bowls, thinking of all the things I have to do in the day ahead. Marinate the chicken breasts. Toast the walnuts. Mix Bonnie’s vegan vegetable burgers (an oxymoron if ever there was one), bake the Parmesan crisps. But as I listen to the bickering, as I see the stormy look on Kuhl’s face, my mind wanders to all the things that can go wrong in a day. These are good men, I tell myself. But there is a saying in my birth country: Con dinero baila el perro. Translated literally, it means “With money the dog dances.”

Everybody has a price.


You can read more about Alvaro in Bitter Harvest, the second book in the “Greenhouse” mystery series.

Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the café has become a hotspot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls–only not for the animals. But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing.

When the town’s pub owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome–but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth–before another dead body marks the season.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, three sons and three dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. Find Wendy at www.WATyson.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Bitter Harvest is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of one of the books in Wendy’s Allison Campbell series (Killer Image, Deadly Assets, Dying Brand) or the Greenhouse series (A Muddied Murder, Bitter Harvest) – winner’s choice. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 14, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Cover Reveal ~ Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for the second book in the “Greenhouse” mystery series, BITTER HARVEST, coming out in March 2017.

bitter-harvest
Title: Bitter Harvest
Series: Greenhouse #2
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Website: Wendy Tyson

Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the café has become a hotspot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls—only not for the animals. But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing.

When the town’s pub owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome—but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth—before another dead body marks the season.


About the author
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist whose background inspires her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The first book in the Campbell Series, Killer Image, was named a 2014 best mystery for book clubs by Examiner.com. A Muddied Murder, the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, was called a “Charming and entertaining cozy series debut” by Library Journal. The second Greenhouse mystery, Bitter Harvest, comes out on March 7, 2017. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy and her husband are avid organic gardeners and live on a micro-farm outside of Philadelphia. Connect with Wendy at watyson.com.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a A Muddied Murder CD. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends November 8, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Bonnie Birch by Wendy Tyson

A Muddied MurderMegan was a screamer. Definitely not the kind of baby who would wait patiently until waiting was no longer an option. No, our Megan had a real temper, one born of a desire to live in a world that matched her expectations. She’d let loose at the slightest provocation: a late meal, a wet dog nose, the wrong color socks. Time and loss have mostly worn those edges smooth, but that iron-firm determination still cuts sharp and deep when the situation warrants. I guess when you lose someone the way Megan lost Mick, too soon and oft dreaded, it changes you. Mick’s passing overseas gutted our girl, substituting youthful naiveté for a mature perspective the universe usually reserves for someone twice her age. Now when I see her nursing a sick animal for hours on end or planting row after row of tiny lettuce seeds, I know Mick is watching over her. He lent her some of his quiet strength, and perhaps she’s the better for it.

She’ll need that patience for this life. Oh, Megan thinks she came to Winsome to stay with her old grandmother, but that’s only the half of it. My granddaughter needed healing. And when you need healing, you go home.

Still, when I saw Winsome’s sorry excuse for a zoning commissioner skulking about on our farm a few weeks ago, I knew he’d cause her trouble. It was late morning, the last Tuesday in April, and cold-steel skies threatened rain. The chickens were pecking around the cluster of trees in their yard, searching for insects, and I was watching them from the kitchen window while my stiff fingers complained their way through a ball of bread dough.

Clay, Megan’s farm manager, slammed the porch door. Inside the kitchen, he unwound the red scarf from his neck and smiled when I offered him a cup of tea.

“No thanks, Bonnie.” He gestured toward the greenhouses, where he and Megan were hardening seedlings for the spring planting. “Megan’s finishing up down there and we’re about to head into town. Anything you need?”

I told him no and he left with, “Back in a spell.”

He and Megan pulled out in her pick-up. Fifteen minutes later, Simon Duvall pulled in. He knocked. I didn’t answer. “Bonnie,” he called. I pretended not to hear him—an indulgence I’m allowed at eighty-four.

Instead of leaving, the commissioner trudged back to the barn, avoiding puddles so as to not to muck up his shiny loafers with mud. I washed my hands. I covered the kneaded ball of dough with a damp kitchen towel. I poured myself a cup of hot tea, then added a dash of whiskey to ward off the April chill—another indulgence allowed an eighty-four-year-old. By the time my oven was heated to the right temperature, Simon had left.

I never told Megan about that visit. Maybe I should have. Maybe there were a lot of things I should have shared with her. Maybe I should have answered the door when Simon knocked. Maybe then Simon would be alive today. I think it was Thoreau who said, “To regret deeply is to live afresh.” Poppycock. From a purely practical standpoint, some secrets are simply best left buried.


A Muddied Murder is the first book in the NEW Greenhouse mystery series, published by Henery Press, March 2016.

When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy has written four published crime novels, including Dying Brand, the third novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, which was released on May 5, 2015. The first in the Campbell series, Killer Image, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of the Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A Muddied Murder, released today.

Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. Wendy lives with her husband, three sons and three dogs on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia. Visit Wendy at www.watyson.com.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win an advance copy of A Muddied Murder and one of the Allison Campbell novels (Killer Image, Deadly Assets or Dying Brand) – winner’s choice. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 5, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson is the first book in the NEW “Greenhouse” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, March 2016

A Muddied MurderWhen Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.

Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?

Running a farm and cafe should be easy except for one reluctant local zoning agent with an agenda of his own and when he is found dead on Megan’s property, her family becomes the prime suspects and it will take a whole lot of vegetation to dig for the truth and the killer.

The author did a great job in spinning a fine tale in this fast-paced drama that pulled me in immediately quickly becoming a page turner that I could not put down until the last sentence was read. I love the comfortable tone and how easy the chapters flow from scene to scene giving me a glimpse into all the players in this well-executed mystery which had a bevy of suspects and it was fun watching how this all played out as each clue was skillfully delivered by the author and each time I thought I was on the right trail, the author changed direction to the betterment of this story and you could have knocked me over with a feather when the culprit was identified, one of which I didn’t see coming. The author expertly wrote a cozy that kept me engaged in all of the happenings from the discovery of the body, to the interaction with the townsfolk and to events leading up to the apprehension of the killer, while exposing secrets that I hope we get to delve into in the next book in this delightfully charming debut series.

My Musing ~ Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson

Dying BrandDying Brand by Wendy Tyson is the third book in the “Allison Campbell” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, May 2015

When image consultant Allison Campbell attends an award ceremony to honor a designer friend, she’s thrust into a murder investigation. Only this time, it’s personal.

A former boyfriend is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.

Driven to find justice, Allison deconstructs the image her ex had created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become. As her hunt for the truth unveils secrets, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.

This fast-paced, adrenaline-fuel and action-packed drama immediately pulled me in never letting go until the last sentence was read. The past comes back to haunt Allison and it’s her determination to solve this puzzle that brings her life full-circle in this suspense-filled and intriguing tale that I could not put down. The intensity of each scene controlled my emotions and I was there running with Allison as this case seemed to open up a can of worms that she was not prepared to witness. I like that the author took the time to draw me into the storyline with the visual display of her words and the dialogue that warned me that there was more to come that heighten the level in the dynamic telling of this mystery. Allison is strong-willed, always seeking the truth and is surrounded by a great cast of characters that includes Vaughn, Jason and Mia. I especially love the addition of Grace who I hope we get to see more of. This was a great read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

Before the Fall with Allison Campbell by Wendy Tyson

Dying BrandA close friend once shared his belief that two kinds of people enter our lives: those who accompany us on the long journey, either always with us or weaving in and out of our lives with ease, and those who were meant only to touch our lives for a short time and then be gone. The former, he reasoned, are granted doorways into our lives. Old friends, the kind you lose touch with for long stretches only to reconnect with as though no time had passed, have doorways. On the other hand, those who intersect with us for just a brief period, even if the impact is strong, have only been given windows into our lives. Windows, he said, are not forever. And once these “window” relationships are closed, that’s how they should remain.

In retrospect, he was right. Windows should never be reopened. I learned that the hard way.

Things had been too quiet for too long, so I should have known trouble was brewing. The Fates don’t much care for peace, do they? It was the first Saturday of autumn, and the leaves in eastern Pennsylvania had long since fallen, replaced by a chilling, austere landscape of bare branches and browning lawns. I woke up that morning unsuspecting, sandwiched between Jason and Brutus, a harsh rain tapping the window. Brutus, my incorrigible Boxer, had shimmied his way up the mattress until his great, jowly head was on my pillow. I opened my eyes to find him staring at me. My yawn brought about a series of tail thumps and unsolicited kisses. Smiling, I wiped my face.

“Brutus, you’re not supposed to be in the bed,” I mumbled. I swear he laughed at me. We both knew that was a pointless rule.

“Mmm,” Jason said, rolling over. His hair was tousled, his eyes sleepy, his broad shoulders bare under pale yellow cotton sheets. A slow grin slid across his face. I moved in closer. “Let’s make pancakes,” he whispered.

Pancakes, huh? I nudged Brutus off the bed.

An hour later, we made pancakes. Then Jason left for the District Attorney’s Office—he had a few hours of work to finish up before Delvar’s award ceremony—and I did the same.

I found Vaughn already at First Impressions, my image consulting firm, reading The Wall Street Journal, a distracted look on his dark, handsome features. I squeezed his shoulder and placed a cup of black coffee in front of him. Vaughn’s a clean living kind of guy these days, but he’ll make an exception for coffee. He thanked me and smiled, but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. I should have asked him what was wrong, but I didn’t. Jason’s embrace still on my mind, I walked back to my office without another word. Mistake Number Two.

At my desk, I glanced at the day’s schedule. Intake for a new client at ten, a lunch discussion with a local women’s group at one, and then I could get ready for Delvar’s award ceremony. The designer had been in my life for years, first as a mentee and later as a friend, and now he was not only a world-class clothing designer but a philanthropist. Delvar was an inspiration to many, including me, a true “rags to riches” story, only Delvar never forgot his roots. When the invitation to attend the ceremony honoring his new charity, Designs for the Future, had come, I’d canceled a speaking engagement to be there. I’d later realize that was Mistake Number One.

But that Saturday, sitting in my office in Villanova, a rainy morning slowly giving way to a sunnier afternoon, I had no idea the domino effect one change in plans would have. I figured the rest of the day would wind down quietly the way it had begun: with Jason, Brutus and Vaughn, the constants in my once-again predictable life. That wasn’t meant to be. A window would reopen, one that I should have slammed shut and bolted forever.


You can read more about Alison in Dying Brand, the third book in the “Allison Campbell” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first two books in the series are Killer Image and Deadly Assets.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on May 22 for the chance to win a copy of DYING BRAND. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

About the author
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy has written four published crime novels, including Dying Brand, the third novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, which was released on May 5, 2015. The first in the Campbell series, Killer Image, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of the Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A Muddied Murder, is due to be released just in time for spring 2016. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. Wendy lives on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and three dogs. Visit Wendy on Facebook or at: www.WATyson.com.

A Day in the Life of Francesca Benini by Wendy Tyson

Deadly AssetsThere is an Italian proverb, Chi affoga s’attaccherrebbe alle funi del cielo. Loosely translated, it means “A drowning man plucks at a straw.” When I was a young girl back in Italy, my grandmother, dressed in her widow-black, eyes hard nuggets of Tuscan coal, would mutter this saying to my father at the slightest sign of weakness, effectively questioning his business judgment as he helped to grow the family’s fledgling company. To be fair to my father, those straws saved him on many occasions. Benini Enterprises would become a thriving business. But then, Grandmother never valued fairness.

I’m reminded of that proverb now as I get ready for my visitor, Allison Campbell. Image consultant, life coach…call her what you will. It strikes me that perhaps she is the straw, and I am the drowning woman, already doomed. The thought makes me tired. Do I have fight left in me? I glance outside and see Maria down by the barn, riding the chestnut mare. My niece’s dark hair is cascading down her back, and although I can’t see her features from the sunroom window, I know the expression on her face will be feral, wild. From here, she looks like a witch. Or a harlot. Thinking of Grandmother, I smile. How far our family has come.

Outside, distant clouds threaten the blue August sky. This summer, the Finger Lakes region of New York has been abnormally hot and rainy. I worry about the grapes. While we don’t sell our own wine, our vineyards supply the house, and perfecting our dry Riesling has become a tradition. We have so few traditions anymore…I don’t want to let go of this one.

Jackie, our chef, interrupts my thoughts when she enters the sunroom quietly, her plain features bunched into a worried frown. She reminds me of the woman in the iconic painting American Gothic and I admonish myself for the uncharitable association.

“Yes?” I say. “Is Allison here?”

Jackie shakes her head. “The hospital called.”

“About Paolo?” Although even as I say the words, I realize how ridiculous they sound. Of course it was about Paolo. My brother had a stroke and has been in and out of consciousness. His misfortune is the reason for my engagement with Allison Campbell. That, and…well, a story for another day. “What’s happened?”

Jackie looks around. In a low voice, she says, “You should go see him, Frannie.”

“Jackie, please.”

“You’ll regret it. You and I both know it’s true.”

Regret? Oh, I know regret. Another face flashes before me, and I push aside thoughts of Gina Benini, my brother’s first wife. I purse my lips and turn my head, looking away from Jackie and back toward the window. Maria is no longer in sight. The barn looms in the distance, its size a reminder of the wealth we once had. These days, this estate seems too big. Too grand. Then why do I feel so claustrophobic within its confines?

I rise, dismissing Jackie. She knows me well enough to understand the gesture, and she leaves the room. I am immediately regretful. She never did tell me why the hospital called.

A clock in one of the front parlors strikes three. Allison Campbell will be along soon. I head toward my private rooms feeling a sudden burst of energy. My head is oddly clear. I know what needs to be done, and with clarity comes purpose. Voices reach me as I climb the stairs. Jackie speaking to Alessandro. I pause to listen. Another proverb comes to mind: A mali estremi, estremi rimedi. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Perhaps I am not so unlike my grandmother, after all.


You can read more about Francesca in Deadly Assets, the second book in the “Allison Campbell” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Killer Image.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 25 for the chance to win a copy of Deadly Assets. (US entries only, please.)

About the author
Wendy Tyson is a writer, lawyer and former therapist from Philadelphia. She’s authored Killer Image, an Allison Campbell mystery, Deadly Assets, the second Campbell novel, and The Seduction of Miriam Cross, a thriller set near Philadelphia. Wendy makes her home in Abington, Pennsylvania with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She’s currently working on the third Campbell novel, Dying Brand.

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